Director of Philanthropic Engagement

Public Advocates Inc. is a nonprofit law firm and advocacy organization that challenges the systemic causes of poverty and racial discrimination by strengthening community voices in public policy and achieving tangible legal victories advancing education, housing, transportation equity, and climate justice. We spur change through collaboration with grassroots groups representing low-income communities, people of color and immigrants, combined with strategic policy reform, media advocacy and litigation, “making rights real” across California since 1971.

The vision of Public Advocates Inc. is that communities that were once excluded and marginalized are energized by their collective power to shape public decisions and achieve justice. As a result of that engagement, all Californians can have the building blocks to thrive and to create vibrant communities – excellent public schools, affordable housing, reliable public transportation, quality health care, good job opportunities, and economic security.

Position Summary

As a key leader in this vibrant organization, the Director of Philanthropic Engagement will work closely and strategically to design and implement an effective and collaborative strategy that enables new types of funders and donors to value and join us in advancing racial and economic justice in California.  This position is unique in that it is responsible for adding value to an already successful and productive fundraising machine.

Reporting to the President & CEO, the Director will develop and implement new fundraising strategies that will enable Public Advocates Inc. (PA) to ensure program effectiveness and long-term financial sustainability. This will require creative and impactful fundraising, strategic partnerships, and influence strategies that move more philanthropic interest and resources to PA.


This position is currently hybrid and based in California. If the successful candidate lives in the Bay Area or Sacramento County, they will be expected to work from the office a minimum of 2 days per week. If the successful candidate resides elsewhere in California, they will be expected to work from home and travel to San Francisco or Sacramento as needed for meetings and events (approximately 4-6 times per year).

Reporting Relationships

This position reports to the President & CEO and has three direct reports.

Opportunity Highlights

  • Salary range is $135,000-$160,000
  • Benefits include:
    • 100% of premiums paid for health and dental insurance for the employee and eligible family members
    • Flexible spending accounts for health and dependent care
    • Generous vacation and paid holiday schedule
    • Employer contributions to the 403(b) retirement plan
    • Professional development budget
    • Paid sabbatical after 7 years
  • The opportunity to use your skills as an experienced development professional to fight the systemic causes of poverty and racial discrimination through successful legal and policy victories

You are:

  • A strategic and entrepreneurial development visionary who delights in creating and executing strategies for successful long-term fund development
  • A trusted collaborator who enjoys partnering closely with organizational leadership in service of building deep relationships with board members, donors, foundations, staff, volunteers, and other key stakeholders
  • Inspired and excited by the day-to-day advocacy work of Public Advocates, which advances racial and economic justice in housing, transportation, education, and climate justice policies


  • Develop the overarching philanthropic engagement strategy for PA, in alignment with its organizational values and vision and in close collaboration with managing attorneys and the CEO.
  • Co-lead the development and implementation of long- and short-term institutional fundraising strategies for operating, capital, reserve, and special initiatives.
  • Execute smart and actionable fundraising strategies and tactics for institutional philanthropy, individual donors, law firm and corporate donors, from pipeline development to stewardship and renewal, that result in PA meeting short- and long-term fundraising goals.
  • Manage and grow a small major gifts portfolio.
  • Work in close concert with the Senior Grants Manager and Grant Writer to help strategize new foundation relationships.
  • Cultivate and nurture healthy and productive relationships with current and prospective funders of PA.
  • Develop and execute funder engagement strategies that enable funders to stay inspired, learn, and partner with us in mutually beneficial ways; this includes thoughtful strategies for one-on-one relationship building as well as effective gatherings that seek to support our collaborative efforts.
  • Actively monitor trends in foundation grant making and adapt the organization’s fundraising strategies to maximize alignment and success.
  • Oversee all aspects of grants management to ensure timely submission of grant proposals and reports, compliance with donor restrictions, tracking of grant deliverables, and efficient coordination with internal and external stakeholders.
    • Priority attention is needed in maintaining robust support from the California State Bar and weighing in on policy changes that may impact funding eligibility.
  • Oversee and lend support and expertise to the Grants team on new comprehensive funding proposals, key external case statements, reports, concept papers, letters of intent, presentations, and other required proposals and grant reporting related materials.
  • Work closely with staff to identify, implement and maintain inter- and intra-departmental systems that support a highly efficient and ambitious Development team.
  • Support creation of conditions for success within the Development team including clear vision, values, structure, operations, roles, diversity and an inclusive team culture.
    • Priority attention is needed in developing a succession and transition plan for the Senior Grants Manager who is anticipated to retire in the coming years.
  • Nurture and support Development Team including Senior Grants Manager, Grant Writer, Development Associate and volunteers.
  • Elevate the voice and visibility of PA by engaging PA staff, board members and funding partners as ambassadors.
  • Actively contribute to organization-wide management as part of the Management team and support the President & CEO in carrying out organizational priorities.


  • High motivation and drive for both self-directed and collaborative work, with a lively, curious, and creative intellect; a style that includes flexibility and inventiveness, and an understanding that goals and mission are moving targets and require flexible, realistic strategies
  • A keen sense of responsibility to move seamlessly from big ideas into deliberate and effective action with tangible outcomes
  • Entrepreneurial spirit and creative drive to build and grow new avenues of funding
  • Excellent writing and oral communication skills, with consistent ability to inspire various audience into action, and convey detailed and accurate information
  • Proven experience with traditional and nontraditional funding strategies, including strong history of solicitation success in line with PA’s goals
  • Exceptional social-emotional skills to listen deeply, draw from and respect divergent opinions from across organizations, consultants, and leaders with different missions and a passion for and lived experiences with legal or policy advocacy, bridging divides, fostering diversity and belonging, and recognizing and bringing in outsiders
  • Expertise in making the case and matching timely opportunities with institutional funders and individuals, including producing and providing high-quality materials, applications and reports
  • Deep knowledge of and experience with how philanthropy works and how individual donors, family offices and foundations, and institutional philanthropy can be influenced and stewarded
  • Active knowledge of current trends, challenges, and opportunities within philanthropy, ideally as they relate to grantmaking to support racial and economic justice
  • A track record of attracting, engaging, and sustaining funders from across a range of philanthropic types, issue areas and ideological perspectives
  • Demonstrated ability to navigate complex power dynamics and generate mutuality and respect among funders, grantees, staff and field partners
  • Strong project and stakeholder management across internal and external stakeholders, including supporting staff in meeting their strategic and developmental goals
  • Solid research and analytical skills, and the ability to cull and synthesize information from large bodies of knowledge and complex concepts, and draft persuasive summaries, analyses, proposals and recommendations


  • Minimum of 8-10 years of progressive responsible fundraising and management experience in a nonprofit advocacy setting, or similar relevant experience
  • Bachelor’s degree
  • Commitment to Public Advocates’ vision, mission and theory of change

Organizational Diversity Vision Statement

Public Advocates reflects the rich diversity of California and is committed to creating a work environment and society free of all forms of oppression. We respect each person in the organization as unique and empower each other to contribute and lead. Our workplace honors our individual and collective identities and fosters the ability to work effectively in cross-cultural situations and engage in courageous conversations about power, privilege and identity. Our cultural competence enables us to form long-term and honest relationships with our community allies, working as partners to achieve shared public policy and community empowerment goals.

Public Advocates is an Equal Opportunity Employer. We encourage all interested individuals to apply, including Black, Indigenous and People of Color; women, people from low-income backgrounds; people with disabilities, people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender, or anyone belonging to any other federal or state protected category.

To Apply:

To apply for this position, or for additional information on the opportunity, please send a copy of your resume with a cover letter to Victoria Silverman at

All applications and inquiries will receive a response and be kept strictly confidential.


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